Salty lemon squares
When she was young my cousin Maïa, a passionate baker, was obsessed with lemon squares. These are a slight riff on an original recipe of hers
Salty lemon squares
Makes 16 X 5cm squares
- 125g plain flour
- 50g granulated sugar
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 120g unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 2 large eggs
- 200g granulated sugar
- ½ tsp baking powder
- finely grated zest of 1 large or
- 2 medium lemons (1½ to 2 tbsp)
- 60ml fresh lemon juice (from 1 large or 2 medium lemons)
- icing sugar for dusting
- flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/ gas 4, with a rack in the middle. Line a 20cm square baking tin with two sheets of foil, shiny-side up, crisscrossing them to leave an overhang on all sides. Lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray or grease with butter.
For the crust: in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the cooled melted butter and stir to combine. Turn the mixture out into the baking tin and press evenly over the bottom. Bake until the edges are just beginning to brown, 18-22 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling. With an electric mixer, beat the eggs in a medium bowl until combined. Add the granulated sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and lemon juice and beat on medium-high until the mixture is frothy, 2-3 minutes.
Pour the filling into the hot crust. Return the tin to the oven and bake until the filling is just set, 22-25 minutes. Let cool completely in the tin on a wire rack, at least 1½ hours. For the best flavour, chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or up to 1 day. To serve, cut into 5cm squares, dust with icing sugar and sprinkle with flaky salt.
TIPS After grating the lemons, warm them in the microwave for 5-10 second intervals until just a bit warm, 15-30 seconds, which will help release the most juice. The flavour of these squares deepens overnight, so make them a day ahead if you can.